We are off to a new year, with our hopes, our fears, our dreams, and, of course – our resolutions. Along with the usual goals of weight loss/gain, exercise enhancement, being a better parent/spouse/colleague, there probably aren’t too many people who make a resolution to laugh more.

And yet, laughter is one of the most potent non-pharmaceutical treatments available for so much of what ails us, especially as we advance through the years.

It may seem ridiculous, even illogical, to resolve to laugh more in a world that seems beset with political unrest and violence, yet all the worrying we do doesn’t change one iota of the world’s future. However, a good dose of daily laughter may indeed change our personal future.

Laughter Is Good Medicine

A recent study of 20,934 individuals (10,206 men and 10,728 women) aged 65 years or older showed that laughter had a profound impact on their health and well-being.

Persons who reported rarely or almost never laughing experienced a 21% higher prevalence of heart disease than those who reported laughing every day.

The same startling result was true for the prevalence of stroke: 60% higher among the non-laughers than among those who reported a daily dose of laughter.

Laughter has many other proven health benefits, such as improving blood pressure and immune functioning, lowering stress, alleviating pain and insomnia – the list goes on.

So why  not adopt a daily dose of laughter as a New Year’s resolution? You may feel silly about wanting to laugh more when the news reports spew a litany of disasters, but frankly, a great deal goes on all around us every day that isn’t disastrous.

Babies are born, people fall in love, families are raised, and yes, people laugh.

I don’t know how much Jean Veloz, the astonishing 90-plus-years-young lady who is still the reigning queen of the Hollywood-Style Lindy, laughs. But her videos and pictures show a healthy, energized woman with a huge smile on her face as she performs and teaches swing dancing all over the world.

I would take bets that she finds many reasons to laugh, and that it is part of what sustains her terrific energy and ‘joie de vivre’.

Find What’s Funny

Like anything else, reasons to laugh are all around us. We just have to look. Personally, I find the Internet a constant source of things to make me laugh.

From the funny animal videos to the viral video of a baby laughing, there are all sorts of websites devoted to the funny, the silly, the light-hearted side of life. Then there are TV comedies, comedic films, books that make one laugh right out loud, as well as our own silliness or that of our friends.

Laughter that heals and uplifts is never sarcastic or demeaning. It’s just the spontaneous expression of delight over something unexpected and fun.

Babies do it all the time. If anything, babies and small children are wonderful examples of true laughter. They will laugh at pretty much anything, with no self-consciousness about how they sound or look as they chortle, giggle or guffaw.

We could learn much from these little ones. Yes, the world is serious, and yes, there is much to be concerned about. But there is also fun, play and the silliness of ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Laughter is universal. It is good for our hearts and spirits. Deciding to laugh more is the perfect New Year resolution.

How has laughter gotten you through tough times? Can you give examples of how you find humor in your day-to-day living? How does a good laugh make you feel? Let’s have a conversation!

Let's Have a Conversation!